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>> suddenly she's at the center of an in a deadly plot. >> she is like poisoned candy, attractive on the outside but deadly on the inside u >> was it a heinous crime or a half-baked hoax? >> the plot hoped to capture the attention of someone in reality. >> a twisted tale of love gone wrong and a wife gone wild. the ballad of mike and dalia. is thanks for joining us, i'm lester holt. their lives appeared to be picture perfect, a young couple with flourishing careers, a luxury condo and a baby on the way. then, it all came apart, an investigation would reveal nothing about this young husband
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and wife was what it seemed and the final chapter in this case would take nearly everyone by surprise. here's dennis murphy. ♪ >> reporter: palm beach county, florida cab bad place to live if you suffer from the "i want me some of that." the cars, the polazzos on the water, a conspicuous consumption and envy index as high as the humidity. >> within touching distance, all of that great, great wealth. >> it s range roefrts in front of you and behind you at the stoplight. wonderful, pricey restaurants. luxury hotels. for a person who has a propensity for greed, it is either the perfect place for them to live, as it tickles their greed, or the worst place. >> reporter: which bring us to our newlyweds you are about to
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meet, dalia and mike dip politte toe. they had big dreams, like any couple young and in love, aspirational at the very least. she had a $20,000 diamond engagement ring. check. he had a porsche in the garage. check. and they lived together in a quarter million dollar condo, not exactly in the right zip code but it was a perfectly fine starter place for two up and comers. their story for public consumption, the g-rated version, was love at first sight. mike was an internet entrepreneur and dalia, the business woman he fell head over heels for. three months after their first meeting, marriage was inevitable. susan spencer wendle is a reporter for "the palm beach post." >> she had a connection. >> reporter: there was a teensy problem in their paradise. mike dippolito was married. lawyers brody and friedman arranged a quickie divorce so the ballad of mike and dalia could begin. >> he fell in love with her.
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he thought she was the end all, be all. he felt as though this was it and i'm gonna have a family with her and we're gonna grow old together. >> he thought she was the real deal? >> they hit it off right away. need a lot of things in common. they enjoyed the same things. >> dal gentleman real estate agent? >> that's what attracted him to her, she was successful on her own and didn't need him that played more into everything that went on. >> we talking about sexual attraction or more going on here? >> oh, there's sexual attraction, absolutely. >> reporter: with the divorce in hand, mike and dalia dashed to the courthouse to married and soon fell into comfortable routines, morning workouts at the gym, steamy date nights at five-star hotels and love note on the fridge. he seemed to be dalia's dream guy and three months into the marriage, she told her husband she was pregnant. michael was thrilled, life was good. but early one morning in august 2009, it all came to an end to
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the two with a finality as certain as crime scene tape sprung across the front of the con development dalia had been located at her 6 a.m. workout by the boynton beach police u. >> this is sergeant frank ram circumstance boynton beach police department. >> everyone all right? >> ma'am, i need talk to you it is very urgent, it involves your husband, there's been an incident. >> reporter: she was instructed to get home right away. when she arrived, she saw police cars out front, everything that spells disaster just ahead. this is a police videotape of dalia getting the news. >> ms. dippolito? i'm sergeant ram zucker the one that called you. thank you for coming. sorry to call you. listen, we'd reported disturbance at your house. >> reporter: the officer was direct with dalia. he said there's been an intruder in the house and several shots were fired. >> your husband, michael, okay, i'm sorry to tell you you ma'am, he's been killed. [ crying ] >> he has been killed, ma'am. >> reporter: michael dippolito,
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her husband of six months, gunned down in their townhouse, the cops were telling her, but she would not be allowed to go inside to see the body. >> you want to help yourhood, you need go to the station and talk to these guys. >> reporter: the homicide investigation was only minutes old and the officers told dalia they'd need her cooperation in understanding what had happened. >> we are going to do everything we can, okay? so we need your help. we need too get your husband's killer, ma'am. >> reporter: dalia is whisked off to the police station where she'd soon find out that the detectives knew much more about the details of the crime than they were letting on. this case was about to get very complicated. coming up -- >> are you sure that you don't know anybody who would want to kill your husband? >> the questions begin. it seems that undercover agents had their eyes and hidden cameras trained on mrs. dippolito.
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it seems that undercover agents 3 f2
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propiedad que estaba rodeada por >> i'm sorry, ma'am, he's been killed. >> reporter: dalia is rushed to the boynton beach police department for the start of interviews. dalia begins by telling the detective, michael, her deceased husband, wasn't exactly squeaky clean.
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>> he has been trying to get off probation and it's just been nothing but problems the whole time that he has been trying to get off. >> reporter: mike dippolito was a convicted felon, a swindler, who bilked thousands from gullible investors by selling phony currency securities. >> it was for taking money. he planned like boiler room kind of, where they would take money from people. >> reporter: in other words, her murdered husband was a guy with enemies. when he was released from prison after seven months, he was still looking at more than 25 years of probation. he had been ordered to make restitution to the victims he fleeced, an outstanding iou of $191,000. >> people weren't happy he was getting off probation, because it was is a lot of money he's got paid back. >> reporter: find out who he owed, suggested dalia, and you'll find the killer. the cops listen bud changed the focus of their questioning to the couple themselves, dalia and
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mikal, the newlyweds of six months. >> are you sure that you don't know anybody that would want to kill your husband? you wouldn't want to kill him? not at all? >> like there's nothing. >> no problems between you guys? no financial problems, i mean, with your family, you and him? >> no, there's nothing. his business lowed down if anything. >> reporter: but the police officers knew much more that morning, so much more. nonetheless, the grieving widow was taxing their patience. >> okay. the game's over with, okay? there's no more games with you and i. now we are going to get down to serious business. >> reporter: interrogators hadn't let on to dalia that hers wasn't a fresh name to them. in fact this moment inside the police interview room was the culmination of an investigation that was already a week old. in what would become just a sensational case, and for a
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brief while as popular as piano playing cats on youtube, began when a man walked into the police station here one evening and said add strange story to tell, a married lover of his h. detective alex moreno didn't know what to make of this walk-n >> first, he is giving you the information, you don't know what to think. here is guy sleeping with a guy's wife and now she is trying to get somebody to kill him. >> pretty juicy story. >> exactly. >> reporter: detective moreno had his tipster run his story down from the top. the man was named mohammed, he said he was a part-time actor who worked at a convenience store. he's told it he had been friends with benefits with a women for years. they met for the occasional casual sex. then, she asked him for help in finding a hitman to kill her husband. >> he says, you know what, yeah, i'm sleeping with this guy's wife, but at the same time, i didn't want this guy to be killed. and that was his concern. he couldn't sleep with that whole idea that this guy was going to get killed. >> reporter: detective wondered
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if he was being sold a cock and bull story, since this mohammed guy didn't seem to know very much about the woman he claimed to be sleeping with. the detective challenged him. >> all the information he had was her first name. he didn't know where she lived. he didn't even know who her husband was. >> reporter: while they debated whether or not the tipster's story was credible, they knew that a life maybe on the line, so the detectives took it to the next level. they enlisted mohammed as a confidential informant and gave him a story to hell his part-time lover, that he found hear hitman who could pull off the job. >> two things gonna happen, either this guy is like to us or it was true. we hadn't validated the information yet until he actually makes contact. >> reporter: mohammed the tipster set up ans a signation with the woman for the very next day. the car that he drove to the gas station meeting point had been rigged by police technicians for pictures and sound. undercover agents nearby would be watching the whole time to find out who this woman was,
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where she lived, who her husband was, and just what the heck was going on. >> she came down the street, came into the gas station, immediately we picked up the car. not only are we watching her, we are also hearing what is going on in the informant's car. live. >> reporter: running down the license plates and registration yielded the name of 27-year-old dalia dippolito. and the police officers didn't have to wait long before the informant's story was confirmed. this woman in the car was definitely in the market or for a triggerman. >> less than a minute or so she begins talking about hiring somebody to kill her husband. >> unprompted? he is not doing devil work to get this story out of her? >> no. which shocked us. >> reporter: the meeting was a
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all business dalia produced photos of her husband to mohammed to hand over to the hitman. dalia brought something else the hitman had requested, cash to bite gun that would be used. >> i brought $1200. he is asking for $1200? when are you going to give him the money and [ bleep ]? >> today. >> she turns the money over? >> yes. >> that a crime detective, at that moment? >> it's not enough yet. we didn't have enough yet. we wanted to go a little further we are this case. >> reporter: the police were about to see just how determined dalia was to have her new husband killed. coming up -- z another undercover sting and a plan is set in motion for a deadly house call, when "dateline" continues. bring it down, please? better. that's what happens to background noise, when you're making a call on this. this microphone here, picks up the sounds around you and helps turn them down.
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with the help of a confidence depps informant, the boynton beach police department confirmed a woman named dalia dippolito wanted to hire a hitman to kill her husband and it was all caught on tape. >> reporter: so the police instructed their informant, a man named mohammed, to set up another meeting with dalia this time it would be a with the hitman, who would be, of course, an undercover boynton beach police detective. same way again, at a store and in a car wired for video and audio.
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>> in that meeting they begin making plans and she also tells our hitman where they live. she provides a schedule where her husband goes and comes and goes in the morning, where's gonna be the next day. >> that shows, what, her state of mind or resolution? >> shows the intent and the fact that here she is meeting with a complete stranger who she believes is a hitman. she actually goes so far as saying, hey, i rather it happen here. >> she just want it is done and the seen the better. >> does your agent give her a door out at that point? >> yes. he asked her more than once if she was sure if this is what she wanted done. she laughs about it and says, yeah, once i set my mind to do something, i do it. >> i'm positive. lining 5,000% sure. >> reporter: pretend hitman told her he would use a gun, give him a tap tap.
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>> undercover agent tells her, hey, i'm going to put two in his head, meaning two shots to the head and doesn't even phase her. no remorse. >> reporter: dalia and the hitman who is really a cop agrees he will kill her husband in two days. he tells her to be prepared to go to the gym early that morning. >> by the time you get from the gym, you are going to find two things, dead body in the house, all right, or nothing. >> all right. >> reporter: the night before, he calls dalia with further instructions. >> tomorrow morning, you got to be out by 6. >> okay. >> undercover agent tells her, hey, i need you out of the house by 6:00 in the morning. when she agrees are, doesn't hesitate, doesn't change her mind, nah nah nah, she just says, okay. and that's it. >> reporter: the next morning, everything is going according to plan. dalia leaves for the gym. undercover cops tailing her. >> one of our sergeants makes a phone call while she is at the gym and they inform her that something happened at her house and she needs to get to the house, fast. >> she doesn't know details, just knows something has happened, get home quickly? >> yes. and she shows up at the house
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and once again, she makes contact with our sergeant and she is informed of her husband's death, that he has been killed. >> sorry to tell you that he has been killed. >> if you look at that video, she begins to react before she is even told the whole story. according to that sergeant who was actually making contact with her, he didn't see any tears. >> reporter: and when they bring her to the police station, investigators are curious to see how far dalia will push her scenario, blaming the murder on one of her husband's former enemies. the detectives are carefully watching her interview on a tv monitor in a nearby room. >> people weren't happy that he was getting on probation because it is a lot of money these pay back. >> she mentioned how he has a lot of enemies, he was on probation. she didn't even bother how to ask how it happened. >> reporter: to their experienced eyes and ears, dal gentleman making a few mistakes in how she is telling her theory of the crime but they want to push her some more, see if they
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can get her to confess to her murder plot then and there. would she be obviously rattled when they let in a familiar face you the person she believes is the hitman? >> get over there get over here. you know who this guy is? >> no. >> you've never seen him before? >> i've never seen him before. ever. >> reporter: the man before her, actually the undercover policeman is presented to dalia here as someone they just nabbed for the killing of her husband. >> do you know her? >> put your head up and look at him. >> i've never seen him. >> reporter: detectives finally put their correspondent the table. they tell her that they know this was the sun posed hitman and the meeting where they planned to kill her husband is caught on tape u. >> that is an undercover police officer. we filmed everything that you did, recorded everything that you did. you're going to jail for solicitation of first-degree murder of your husband. >> i didn't do anything. >> did you hear what i just told you? >> i heard what you said.
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>> everything -- listen to me. everything has been recorded. you were photographed in the convertible when you sat in his car, in the front of the cvs. what do you want to do? >> reporter: rock stead i do all appearances, dalia swore up and down she had nothing to do with the death of her husband. but the police had another surprise for her. truly a humdinger. they were about to walk a ghost to the doorway of the interview room. coming up -- >> oh, my god! >> someone is back from the grave. when "the ballad of mike and dalia" continues. [ male announcer ] take dayquil...
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>> reporter: imagine for a minute you're dalia dippolito. homicide connect i was in a police interrogation room are accusing you of plotting your husband's murder. and just like that, hello. >> oh, my god. come here. >> reporter: now, face-to-face with the woman who wanted him dead, his wife of six months. >> i'm thinking in my head, i'm lucky, i'm lucky.
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but i'm thinking i'm so screwed right now the worst day in the world. >> reporter: before waking up that day, michael dippolito believed he and dalia had begun a loving new chapter together. they were about to start a family. she told him she was pregnant. but he had no idea that the woman he loved wanted him dead. clueless that his new bride had hired a hitman to do the job. his wife was already at the gym when he learned all about it with an early-morning knock on the door of his townhouse. the police. >> say, hey, listen this is what we are doing, we are conducting an investigation. said your wife was going to have you killed today. you have to come with us. i just looked at them and i'm like, i mean, it hit me. >> you don't hear those words every day? >> no. >> reporter: officers told michael he had to come with them right away to the boynton beach police station before his wife got back from the gym. >> grab your stuff, get in the car, we're out of here? >> yes. >> reporter: meanwhile, outside his townhouse you can the police were starting to stage dress a phony murder scene, all to trick dalia into thinking the hitman
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she hired had successfully completed the job. >> listen, we had report of a disturbance at your house. >> reporter: at the stay, the detectives crude up the surveillance videos and showed the husband dalia's two meetings as she shopped for a hitman. then the police allowed michael to watch his wife's realtime police interrogation going on in another room. dalia, who had no idea her husband was alive, told her police interviewer she had nothing to do with whatever had happened to him, even after they brought in the undercover cop who posed as her hitman. >> put your head up and look at him. >> put your head up. >> i have never seen him. >> watching him and watching him and waiting for the girl to give it up. you know what the girl never gave it up. >> reporter: dalia was arrested and hand kufd, then walked a very much alive michael to the doorway of the interview room. >> they say do you know this guy, standing there way to the the distance from us. >> come here. please.
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come here. >> i can't. >> why not? i didn't do anything. >> i heard you. >> mike, come here, please. come here. >> that's when she says come here, i love you, i love you. i told her, i said, look, i can't. you can't fix this. >> reporter: now it was michael's turn to tell the police his story, warts and all. correcting for the record that love at first sight fairy tale. dalia, he says, was an escort who responded to his itch one afternoon while he was at work. he ordered up dalia the way aid call for pizza. she an escort girl that you made a phone call to and she came over? >> well, could i tell you i didn't meet her in church. she is actually an he is xoort. that's how i met her. she came to my office one day. >> reporter: michael claims even now, there was a mutual attraction that went far beyond that initial transaction. >> when i met dalia, we seemed to connect instantly. we hit it off right away. everything about it we just clicked. be it our sex life, be it just
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our spare time, it be just the things we liked, all that, and it just happened. >> reporter: three months after they met, michael divorced his first wife and married dalia that same week. and we were going to start a life together and we talked about traveling and doing things and you know, we had like a future planned. >> reporter: but there was a hitch to michael's future, the terms of his probation prevented him from leaving south florida. so the couple consulted a lawyer and his advice was pay off that $191,000 you owe in restitution and you have a fair chance of getting the probation lifted. so that was your ticket to freedom? >> pay backed money and, yeah, and get my freedom. you know, and dalia said she would help me with some of the money, about 90,000. and i'm like, absolutely, let's do it. >> reporter: dalia and michael agree they had would pool their money to pay off dippolito's debt. >> this is great. she is pushing me forward too. i thought, like, okay, i'm gonna get off probation. very exciting for me. >> reporter: then the plan to
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get michael out of hock changed again. according to michael, another lawyer said to him, look, you own your townhouse free and clear, why not just turn the title over to dalia, then she can do money things for you, no problem. so, michael gave her the deed to the townhouse as well as $100,000 cash, his part of that pay back of the restitution debt. the money was supposed to go to his attorney, but it never got there. >> i will tell you where it unraveled. as soon as i got dalia that 100,000 is where it went down hill. >> reporter: after dalia got that nice-sized chunk of change, michael dippolito says he started to have a string of run-ins with the police, including one night after the dinner out with dalia. they left the restaurant to find the police swarming michael's vehicle. after a search, they found cocaine stashed beneath the spare tire. >> i actually started crying to the cop. i'm like, look, man i haven't done anything in 5 1/2 years. i don't know how, why, what happened. they let me go. i couldn't even believe it. >> would you have gone back to prison because you had violated
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probation? >> yeah. yeah. absolutely. >> reporter: now, he didn't want to think that the light of his life could be behind something as nefarious as getting him thrown back in prison, but the idea was there. maybe dalia. when i'm with you. my life isn't this exciting you. in 5 1/2 years on pro-zbarngts have one run-in with the police. i'm with this girl six months and the whole police department knows me. i might as well glow fluorescent. >> you're looking at her sideways? >> i'm like doing the best i can to be a good husband, give her a chance. >> no reason to believe she is faking it with you? >> no she play is been a bad actress date they caught her on camera but as far as with me, she was an academy award winner. >> reporter: oscar worthy, too was dalia's role playing an expected mother there never was a baby, was there, mike? >> never was a baby. >> reporter: another thing dalia was not expecting was the formal charge being filed against her, solicitation to commit first degree murder we are a firearm.
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but even after her arrest, dalia phoned michael from jail, pleading with him to get her an attorney, claiming the cops had gotten it all wrong. >> not true. >> how is that not true? they're charging your ass. don't you get it? >> i didn't do anything. >> she won't give it up. i didn't do it. i didn't do it.
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why aren't you helping me. i love you, over and over. i am like are you kidding? i said what do you want me to do. >> i need an attorney so i can talk to you. >> this is strange. dalia begging with the guy she's accused of trying to kill to help her find a lawyer to beat the charge. michael saw the phone cal as an opportunity to play let's make a deal. >> i said get me my house back, less the problems and legal bills, and i'll get you a lawyer. >> listen, sign my property back to me, and i'll help you, okay? >> i am not signing it. >> then i can't help you. >> because of florida's strong open records law, her jailhouse phone calls and all the police surveillance tapes by the boynton beach cops would be public. they were out there viral on youtube. those images of dalia boo-hooing online would be seen by thousands of viewers that lambasted her in the comments section. the people with the only opinion that matters weren't convened on youtube, they were in a west palm beach courtroom. what would a jury of her peers make of dalia and michael? coming up. the case heads into court. and out come more secrets. >> it was like something out of a movie. it was unreal. >> dalia's defense seemed unreal, too. was the whole thing a hoax? >> the plot was never real. mike hoped to capture the attention of someone in reality tv. >> when "dateline" continues.
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reporter: what started as a tentative police sting operation was now being argued in front of a jury in the west palm beach, florida courthouse. 28-year-old dalia dippolito was accused of trying to get her husband killed. in legalese, solicitation to commit murder in the first degree, could get her 30 years in prison. the prosecuting attorney had photographs, audio recordings and videos, including that sting in which dalia tells an undercover cop posing as a hitman that she wanted her husband, mike dippolito, dead, asap. >> i am positive, like 5,000% sure. >> it was unreal, like something out of a movie. >> reporter: dalia had already spent almost two years under house arrest in her mother's home by the time the trial began in april of 2011. >> she thought she could get away with having him murdered. would paint her like a delilah from the bible. >> she seems to be conniving, manipulative, pure evil in everything that she did, but she played such a good game that people didn't know that was the true dalia. >> they say love is blind.
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in this case, love was blind, deaf, and dumb. >> the jury would hear the prosecution argue the six-month marriage of michael and dalia was a fraud from the beginning, only the convicted scam artist husband didn't realize he was the one being shnookered. >> he never wanted to believe his wife, the person he loved more than anything, wanted to have him killed. >> reporter: prosecutors are in the storytelling business, and this case needed a lot of that, the backstory in particular. >> first question i had was why? why did she want to have this done? i knew if i had that question, certainly, the jury was going to have that question also. >> what is the motivation? jurors, here is why this happened. >> greed. she wouldn't have to be married any more. she would have all of these assets, and she could live a
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good life without him. >> reporter: the delicate bit was to get the jury to feel sorry for michael dippolito. the state's argument went sure, he scammed people for money, but he was still a loving money bamboozled by a conniving wife to the tune of $100,000. >> because he is a convicted felon doesn't mean he can't be a victim of a crime. >> reporter: they put on the husband as the first witness. dippolito tried to explain the attempt to payback the victims. >> dalia said to me i will help you with the money. you put up 100, i'll put up 91,000. >> reporter: but remember, dalia never turned over her $91,000 share. she gave excuses when michael pressed her. what was up? >> coming up with the money, it's here, it is coming, this happened, i have a closing, i will replace it with this money. >> reporter: that was another part of the deception, house closings. as the prosecution told it, dalia may have had a real estate license, but the only property she ever actually sold was the
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condo she and michael lived in. all along, michael thought dalia had her own walk-away-from-the-table money and he liked that about her. but her bank accounts told another story. >> she never had $91,000 to give him to begin with. her bank account was very low. in fact, overdrawn most months. >> reporter: and the $100,000 cash he gave her went up in smoke. >> she spent much of it on luxury items for herself. >> reporter: and all the while, mike was trying to be good, reformed, keeping his nose clean with an internet venture, dalia was running around on him. prosecutors said she was juggling two lovers on the side and trying to enlist each of them in getting her husband bumped off. >> she's playing all these guys. they're all thinking they're the one, and the only person she cared about was herself. >> reporter: detective alex moreno read back text messages dalia wrote about her husband to her lovers. >> i really hate him and want to see him rot. >> so do we get the picture,
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i'll be there in a moment, meanwhile, texting her lover, plotting against the guy in the other room? >> right. >> just want my life w-u, let's get this [ bleep ] arrested. >> reporter: to the prosecution, her scheme was apparent. plant drugs on michael, tip the cops, get him busted back to prison on a parole violation. >> she tried for months to have him arrested. >> you know, i think i have seen this cartoon. this is the coyote trying to get beep beep, never does it. just eludes again and again. >> she did everything she could, but she didn't succeed. >> reporter: but dalia, like wile e. coyote before, never gives up. she comes up with a new plan of attack. >> i thought of a way to get him to sign the house to me. >> reporter: remember when she said there was an attorney that advised mike to put the title of the quarter-million dollar condo in his wife's name? turned out he wasn't an attorney at all, but one of dalia's lovers playing the part. >> at dalia's direction, he said listen, if you have any assets
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in your name, you should get them out of your name, since you're on probation and owe restitution, you should sign your assets to your wife. >> give her all your assets. >> the condo is then signed over to her name. >> reporter: she discovered the ruse wasn't a perfect plan. she couldn't unload it without him. >> the lawyer told both of them it doesn't change things because you're married. it doesn't mean you can do anything with the house. since it is still a marital asset, michael would have to give you permission to do anything with the house. >> so that wasn't so good for her. >> not so good for her. >> reporter: that's the moment the prosecutor says dalia settled on the fatal solution to her money problems. she simply would have michael killed, so everything would be hers, no joint signature required. >> sure you want to kill this dude? >> reporter: the prosecution's case looked air-tight, with all those mesmerizing types of dalia plotting a murder, pretending to be unglued as they learned her husband's murder. but still you there was a
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problem hoft victim himselof v\ husband's murder. but still you there was a problem of the victim himself.h husband's murder. but still you there was a problem of the victim himself.h husband's murder. but still you there was a problem of the victim himself.s husband's murder. but still you there was a problem of the victim himself.e husband's murder. but still you there was a problem of the victim himself.g husband's murder. but still you there was a problem of the victim husband's murder. but still you there was a problem of the victim himself.y husband's murder. but still you there was a problem of t3 f2 3 f13 f13 f1 problem 3 f1 3 f3 f1 prob3 f2 complot para matar a su esposo. problem of the victim himself. there were all those tapes of dalia plotting a murder, pretending to be unglued when she hears about the murder. then there was the problem about the victim. maybe the jury couldn't care less about michael dippolito about to be put on trial as a white collar criminal and low life, predictable courtroom strategy. what no one would have predicted was the other line dali3 f1 defense took. dalia as the white house party crashers, michael as balloon boy. the people versus the jersey shore was about to begin. coming up -- >> mike dippolito's hoax to orchestrate his own murder to achieve fame and fortune was a bad prank. >> murder for hire? or audition for television?
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so there's the defendant, your client, and the prosecution has shown the jury surveillance video of her hiring a hit man to kill her husband. if you're her lawyer, what do you do? why, you fight video with video spin. bring on the snooki envy defense. >> you live in a world where people seeking their 15 minutes of fame lose all sense of judgment and common sense. >> reporter: dalia's defense attorney said the husband, michael dippolito, was a reality
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show wannabe, that he was behind the fake murder, its mastermind, just so he could be known beyond boynton beach. >> mike dippolito's hoax to orchestrate his own murder to achieve fame and fortune was a bad prank. it was never anyone's intention to harm anyone. >> did the balloon boy family hoaxers mean ill will? did the white house party crashers have malicious intent? no, claimed the defense. and neither did the dippolitos. it was just a dumb idea. >> the evidence will show the plot for the contract killing of mike dippolito was never real. mike dippolito hoped to capture the attention of someone in reality tv. >> the defense attorney argued that dalia was in on the reality show idea the whole time.
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that scene out front of dalia wailing, acting, said the defense. >> dalia knew mike wasn't harmed. hers is a fake reaction to a fake event. >> reporter: the defense put on a forensic expert to testify the couple's computers revealed searches for reality show casting calls in the weeks before she met with the hitman who wasn't. >> there were google searches done, one was for casting reality tv in florida. >> reporter: another witness, a professor that wrote a thesis on reality tv chimed in that for some people, the idea of instant celebrity is so intoxicating that they would do almost anything to get on the shows. auditioning is one way. 3 f1 >> another way is to do something crazy. it is a way to get famous to get on reality television. >> reporter: the defense pushed michael dippolito hard on cross examination, accusing him of dragging dalia down with the stupid idea of being a tv star. >> the whole reality thing was actually orchestrated by you, wasn't it?
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>> i don't know what you're talking about. the silliest thing i've ever heard. i mean, completely made up. >> you two never talked about becoming the balloon boy couple. >> no. >> or the white house crashers? >> no, not at all. i don't think they could bring the cameras back into prison if i landed myself back in there. i definitely didn't have that in my playbook. >> reporter: if the jury needed more from the defense on michael dippolito's character, the lawyer threw in his rap sheet. fraudster, prison, a guy that owed $191,000 to his victims, but before paying them back, bought himself a porsche and a quarter-million dollar condo. >> you had to keep telling the people their investment, the money they hoped to get back just wasn't coming in. is that correct? >> yes. >> and in fact, the money was going in your pocket, wasn't it? >> you're being portrayed as lex luther, master criminal. how did you take it.
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>> wasn't easy. >> reporter: it came down to the husband and his appetite for fame. the defendant he said was the true victim here. >> you can't scam a scammer. and mike is a convicted felon scam artist. that's his talent. >> reporter: in her close, the prosecutor took it back to what she saw as the bedrock of the case. the murder-for-hire plot was real and dalia dippolito was calling the shots. >> she's shameless about the way she uses her sexual power to get what she wants. she's like poison candy, attractive on the outside, but deadly on the inside. >> reporter: now it was up to the six-member jury to decide the fate of dalia dippolito. in less than three hours, there was a verdict. >> find the defendant guilty of solicitation to commit murder. >> reporter: dalia dippolito, guilty as charged. stone faced, she was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, facing up to 30 years in prison. if she had not hired the boynton beach police department to kill
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her husband, is it her belief that ultimately, she would have gotten it? >> she would have done everything in her power to make sure her husband was murdered. she would be looking at first degree murder and the death penalty. >> reporter: dalia, without makeup and in jailhouse blues was back in court a month later for sentencing. her mother pled with the judge for leniency. >> in life we make mistakes. >> reporter: mike dippolito had his turn, too. dalia he said never showed remorse, never admitted she tried to have him killed. >> if she would have owned it, like a normal person and would have owned up to something, i would respect that. but instead, when i get to court, i hear i want a reality you should have just said space aliens landed and they did it. that would have been a better defense. you could have made that up. >> reporter: in the end, she was sentenced to 20 years, gave dalia a piece of his mind before sending her behind bars. >> it was weeks and months that
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you continued with these different schemes to try to rid yourself of your husband. it was pure evil. >> reporter: outside the courtroom, mike was swarmed by reporters. asked if he felt the sentence was the right one, he gave an answer that sounded familiar. >> i am 5,000% happy with it. >> reporter: even when it seemed over for mike and dalia, it wasn't. strangely as it seemed, even though michael filed for divorce soon after her arrest, the couple were married at the time of sentencing. the snag in the divorce settlement was real estate and money. michael wanted the title to his condo and his $100,000 back from dalia, the money he gave her to pay his share of the restitution. >> that's the funny thing. they didn't sentence my ex-wife. they sentenced my wife. >> reporter: michael did eventually get the divorce with clear title to the condo. dalia's legal team, meanwhile, has filed notice of intent to appeal her criminal conviction.
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the issue? mohammed, her lover-turned-informant who provided video testimony at trial because he told authorities he would be out of the country was actually in town during the trial and could and should have taken the stand. his version of events, subject to live cross examination in front of the jury. and in a move that surprised some, just three months after her sentencing, the judge that called dalia pure evil allowed her to post a $500,000 bond. dalia was released from jail, placed under house arrest in her mother's home pending an appeal. she and her attorney declined to comment on the case at this time, due to pending legal proceedings. she is living just two miles away from her ex-husband. were you able ever to step out and look down at your situation and say i can't believe this is happening to me? >> i do it every day. i still do it. >> reporter: a starry-eyed mike dippolito once thought his marriage would be one for the ages. it turned out to be one for
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youtube. that's all for this edition of "dateline." we will be back next friday at 10/9 central. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, good night.

Dateline NBC
NBC November 23, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

News/Business. Keith Morrison, Josh Mankiewicz, Hoda Kotb. (2012) A marriage spoiled by lust and greed leads to a hitman murder plot. New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Mike Dippolito 9, Dalia 8, Michael Dippolito 8, Boynton 8, Dalia Dippolito 7, Florida 4, Citi 4, Jared 3, America 3, Youtube 2, Bulova 2, Porsche 2, Geico 2, At&t 2, Carl 2, Prego 2, Lester Holt 2, Alex Moreno 2, Mike 2, Swanson 2
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